Electrical – Tiny shock from 230V AC


So first at all this question isn't really about electrical engineering, but about electricity in general. However, I think this is the best place to ask, correct me if I’m wrong. Also I’d like to mention that my knowledge about electricity is very limited, especially my knowledge about alternating current.

While working in the garden today, I used an electrical mowing machine which is powered by standard 230 V AC. What I didn’t see, is that the extension cable I used, had a crack in the insulation wrap and some wires were exposed. However when I touched one of the exposed wires by accident, I felt a little “shock”, but it was way less hurtful than I would have expected from 230 volts.

My guess is, that I only touched one of the power wires, so the current tried to flow through my body to earth, but because I was wearing shoes with rubber soles I was insulated from earth very well and only a tiny amount of current was able to flow through me. Does this make any sense?

Also, if I had touched both power wires, or one power wire and the earth wire, I would have shortened the circuit with my hand and thus I would have gotten the “full load”, right?

Best Answer

Yes, probably you were wearing well isolating shoes, so you got only small schock.

Yes, touching both wires would give you more current trough. It depends on how you touch these wires. The most dangerous is to touch with arm and leg, or just live wire and no shoes, since the current would pass through the heart. Let's say that current over 40 milliamps through heart would start to cause irreversible damage.

Touching both wires with two fingers is not so deadly, even if the fingers would be burnt to charcoal. Even touching with two arms is better than having passed the current from arm to leg.